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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Clergy Spouse Misconceptions

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Being a clergy spouse can be complicated.  I’ve been at this for a little over four years but when my dad asked me 10 years ago whether I knew what I was getting myself into marrying a guy that wanted to be a priest, I was blinded by love and really had no idea what that really meant.  It’s been a good road though but not without its bumps and potholes.  I often feel like I am riding Wil’s coat tales when we get recognized in public or when we are invited to snazzy events.  He will say that it is because of my support that he is able to do all that he does.  As sweet as that is, he is definitely giving it his all and I’m just thankful that it allows me to get to do all the things that come with it which ironically, most of them I said I would never do.  This bring me to some of my top clergy spouse misconceptions:

Number One:  I know a lot about the Bible.

When we moved to Pawleys Isalnd, within the first month, I was invited to an all girls ecumenical gathering where they did crafts, ate food and learned Christian lessons.  My now friend that was inviting me said, “It’d be great if you’d come so you could help with the scripture.”  I actually laughed out loud and then I realized she was serious.  She now knows that I am pretty much on a 5th grade Bible learning level.  Even after a year of EFM, I am still just trying to grasp the basics.

This has happened, in some capacity, more then once and sometimes it makes me feel uneducated and isolated in a sea of people that know their stuff.  What this does give me is a curiosity for the stories and a genuine interest during the lessons.  I like to think I might always look at the parables in this way.

One of the best things about moving here was the fact that I had to make a few decisions about how I felt when it comes to homosexuality.  We moved right into a swarm of churches that were leaving the National Church but our church wanted to stay.  Issues that I thought I knew a lot about and how I felt bubbled up to the surface and not only was I able to discuss them with people but I became confident about how I felt and why I felt it.  It feels good to stand for something.

Number 2:  I want to be involved in church functions.

Here’s where some of those things I thought I’d never do join the list.  Being a Priest is Wil’s job.  It gets a little fuzzy because his job is also where we go to make friends, get spiritually fed, and become educated.  Back in seminary I thought I’d never be on any guilds, help with any Bible schools, or make any food for the potlucks.  I was drawing a line in the sand between Wil’s work and my life.  Funny thing is, as time has gone by and as I have grown to love the people and mission of HCFM, I have actually wanted to become involved.  You can now find me making lanyards at VBS, practicing my Godly Play story the night before I teach Sunday school, and I even make a yummy jalapeño deviled egg for all those get togethers.

Even with all those things making me feel part of the community, I still don’t want to get too involved.  Wil needs his space as I need mine.  It’s getting harder as I fall more in love with our church.  Don’t look for me on the alter guild just yet but if Wil wants me to do the sermon one Sunday, I’ve got lots I can say.

Number 3:  My faith is as strong as my husbands.

I almost put for number three that people think I don’t ever cuss or do crazy things but then I thought that was silly because of course I do.  Instead I thought I’d go with the belief in the Holy Trinity.  The belief that Jesus was the son of God.  The belief that Jesus is the one.  Many tears have been shed debating this because I so badly want to be sure.  I get how wonderful it is to know deep down.  Wil’s faith is awe inspiring to me and we have had many, many, many talks about it.  I ask the same questions like, “How can you be sure?” and “What about other profits?”  Wil always answers them with patience and with the right words.  I wish I could keep him in my pocket when I have all my questions during church or when discussing the matters with my women’s group.  Some things I do know for sure.  Those are the things that make it possible for me to support Wil and be 100% on board with this life.  I am thankful for his patience and understanding.  I’ve got a long way to go.

This list will grow and change as I grow and change. In this world, sometimes someone else’s misfortune or tragedy makes us aware of what we have and all the things we can be thankful for.  In this life, being part of a church community, it gives my family a chance not only to help those people but be constantly reminded of all the blessings.

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Granted

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Yesterday, the girls and I returned to Pawleys after our 2nd annual Sea to Mountain Fall Adventure.  We cannot start there though.  I must first present Clark:

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Clark came to us via the HCFM parking lot where I received a phone call asking if Clark (at that time known as “the lizard I found”) could come live with us.  I told Wil that if he wanted to take full responsibility for “the lizard,” it was his decision.  Welp, sure enough, “the lizard” came to us in a cardboard box and by dinner he had an aquarium, a rock, some water, some greens and a name.  Welcome to the Keith family Clark.  Don’t get too comfortable.

Alrighty, so, I go to Western North Carolina with a whole lot of people to see and things to do on my must list and I usually get about 75% accomplished.   I came away wanting to share my tips on what WNC people should NOT be taking for granted.  Listen up mountain folk.

Number 1: Your choice of pumpkins.

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The WNC Farmers Market is one of the first stops on our fall trip.  Although there seemed to be quite a few bees hanging around, they made some Sourwood Honey just for me to bring home and we had our choice of as many pumpkins as we could stand in any size and lots of different types.  Bluegrass music lingered in the air and a cool mountain breeze greeted us in the shade.  I had been healed of all my troubles at that very moment.

Number 2:  Living near old friends and family members.

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I’ve gotten pretty good at making new friends.  It’s out of necessity because I am a firm believer in “girl time” and having a family to lean on even if they aren’t blood related.  With this in mind, I am always very aware of how easy it is to be around the people I love in WNC.  They know me.  There’s no reinvention of my squeaky wheel.  On this trip, we saw Priest Patty Mouer at St. Luke’s and the people we love from my first church family. We spent an afternoon with Kei Kei’s side of the family and then dashed to Sawyer Tait’s birthday party where I got big hugs from Alyse and Simon…and some cake.  On Sunday, the Keith’s graciously hosted my family so that I could get some Thomas time and so Lilly and Willow could play with their cousins.  I lost some money at the Harrah’s casino with my Aunts and reconnected with old friends Amy, Sarah and Erin where our conversations fell into old rhythms that were music to my ears.  I didn’t see nearly as many friends as I had wanted and never do I get to spend as much time as I would like but what I get, I am thankful for because there is nothing that fills me up like family.

Number 3:  The Parkway

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Since I could drive a car, I have spent many hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I pass overlooks and memories find there way into my thoughts.  Our first few days there we headed towards Grave Yard Fields.  The leaves had just started to change and the weather was perfect.  Kei Kei showed Lilly how to whistle with a blade of grass and we played dinosaurs in fallen leaves and tall, soft grass.  Most of the picnic areas were closed due to the government shutdown but that didn’t stop us from taking it all in.  Later on in our visit, we headed towards the Via Duct with Nana and Daddy George.  The leaves were amazing.  I couldn’t help but think of this funny link a friend sent me because it was just ridiculous how beautiful it was.  Now I am one of the tourists fighting for that spot at the overlook so we can stretch our legs and take pictures.  I don’t mind though because I am so thankful to be on the edge of those mountains with all memories to keep me company.

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Taking Lilly and Willow to Asheville is something I look forward to when the seasons switch and the palm trees look the same.  I was eager to get back to the life we left behind and dive back in so I could be reminded of the things here that I take for granted.  One of those things is Clark but I am still not touching him.

Putt-Putt, Cotton Candy, and Nose Picking

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The current rain has given me the much needed chance to really slow down today and drink this cup of coffee like it’s the elixir of life.  We’ve been out enjoying the sunshine and cooled off temperatures (80 degrees is cooler, right?) in a few different ways.  We’ve been talking about going to play putt-putt ever since we cruised the Myrtle Beach strip in our first few months of living here.  On Friday, we made good on our thoughts and we took Lilly and Willow to Gilligan’s Putt -Putt which is a no frills place to learn that kids do not actually play putt-putt.  Lilly found it to be a glorified playground as she kind of hit the ball here in there with an awkward positioning of hands and feet.  She couldn’t wait to get to the next hole in case there was a water hazard or a tunnel to explore.  Willow gave up her club on the 3rd hole and took to running up and down the bright green hills.  It was also Bike Week where we were so half the time we stopped to listen and watch the massive motorcycles pass by the busy highway.  Wil and I actually laughed when at the end of “playing” both courses in a record hour and a half we took the score card and tiny pencil from his pocket.  What were we thinking?  No scores were kept but smiles were counted.

Almost two weeks ago, historic Front Street in Georgetown lost about 8 stores and lots of history to a fire.  Last week, a group of special folks from Holy Cross made the journey to check out the scene and take the firefighters trays full of food from Quigleys.  Lilly, Willow and I arrived a bit early so we walked the road and the harbor walk taking in the smells and sights of the fresh ruins.  As we exited our car, the girls were talkative and silly and needy- the usual- but as we turned the corner to Front street, Lilly became very quiet and Willow needed to be held.  Even so young, they both knew that something important was going on that needed whispers and reverence.  Lilly had lots of questions and Willow stayed in my arms.

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This past Saturday was Oktoberfest at Quigleys.  We somehow missed it our first year here so we were ready to go and see what it was all about.  Bouncy houses, cotton candy the size of our heads, great music, beer, schnitzel, and face painting were greeted with excitement.  We even had dinner there with good friends.  It was a nice way to spend an afternoon.  Lilly has never had the courage to go in a bouncy house before but she finally did just to discover after one turn that the festival was over and the house came down.

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We are ready for an upcoming trip to Western NC to look at leaves and hug on friends and family.  The planning for Halloween costumes has already begun and I am reminded why  fall is one of my favorite times of the year.

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Lilly brought home this picture from school yesterday.  As I looked at it, she smiled big and said, “Mommy, it’s a picture of you.  You have a bow in your hair.”  I told her I loved it and I totally cried with all the love that came from that little piece of construction paper.  Give and they will give back.

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Last night, I had a POA meeting at my house so that I could avoid getting a babysitter since I still wanted be at the meeting.  I tried distraction methods of cheeze-its and movies but sure enough, 30 minutes in, I heard the little foot steps of a running Willow.   This kid loves attention so when she realized that picking her nose got her some, she decided to do that for a long time and with a toothy smile.  Then she would disappear only to come back without a diaper and both legs in one of her pajama pant legs.  Luckily, about the time she discovered that plastic water bottles make a crinkly, super distracting noise, Wil came home to put them to bed.  Team work at its best. It’s going to take a team with this girl.

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